Chicago Bulls 2011 NBA Draft Preview: Guide to Unknown Knowns, Known Unknowns


Due to a power outage in Deerfield, IL, the Chicago Bulls will move their NBA Draft headquarters and media event from the Berto Center practice facility to their home game arena the United Center. And due to a shooting/perimeter scoring outage in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls had to move from the NBA postseason to their summer vacation.

It’s very rare that the team with the best regular season record in the NBA has three picks (two in the first round) the following June. And that means the Bulls will almost certainly not add three rookies to next year’s roster meaning they have the luxury of 1.) going after an international product who might not sign 2.) take a chance on a high-risk, high-reward “project.”

With the league lockout ready to grab hold on July 1, this year’s draft is even more mysterious and arcane than your typical draft. More known unknowns, unknown knowns, unknown unknowns and known knowns than usual. Sorry for going Donald Rumsfeldian there- but he did go to high school a stone’s throw from the Bulls practice facility.

Here we’ll mock all three picks and show you some other possibilities.

This is a Paul M. Banks and David Kay collaboration

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Duke’s Nolan Smith has Different Identity On and Off the Court

The Final Four means a bigger stage, brighter lights and more pressure. And in 2010, Duke’s Nolan Smith has brought his game up to another level on par with all the added media attention surrounding the ultimate weekend of college basketball. Following a career high 29 points in the Regional Final win over Baylor, Smith scored 19 (7-16 from the field, 4-9 behind the arc) against the Mountaineers. When Scheyer and Singler struggled with their shooting for much of the earlier rounds, it was Smith, the 6-2 junior from Upper Marlboro, Maryland that picked up the slack.

Obviously, the first two guys I mentioned were bigger names in college, but it’s Smith who might have the best NBA potential of the three. Remember his name this NBA Draft; especially when teams like the Chicago Bulls are on the board (with backcourt needs and a history of drafting guys from winning, high profile programs).

Smith’s success stems from his dual identity: nice guy off the court, cutthroat on the court.

By Paul M. Banks

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NCAA Tournament West Regional Sweet 16 Breakdown

kyrie irving nba

Kyrie Irving is back for DukeUConn keeps rolling.  San Diego State earns their chance to prove they belong with the big boys.  These are some of the headlines heading into the Sweet 16 of the West Regional.  There is a lot of NBA talent playing in Anaheim but can anyone knock off the defending champion Blue Devils?  Here is my breakdown.

By: David Kay

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College Hoops 101 (2/14/11)

badgers mascot

While I was covering Super Bowl 45 in Dallas, I went nine days without watching a complete college basketball game.  When I got back from the Lone Star State, I was literally in the fetal position shaking profusely.  As a result, this edition of College Hoops 101 covers the past two weeks and is a slower week due to my needing to catch up on sleep.

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days.  Click here for my latest bracketology.

By: David Kay
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North Carolina and Duke Fuel Up the Rivalry

Rivalries. It’s what defines sports and in college basketball, there’s not one bigger than Duke and North Carolina.

To each team, the other is the “Evil Empire”. That’s how it works.

UNC dropped early games this season to teams like Minnesota and Vanderbilt. Harrison Barnes was looking more like Marvin Williams and less like Michael Jordan by the minute.

On the other side, after Duke’s fast start, there was talk of Duke going undefeated.

Well, after a Kyrie Irving season-ending injury and an embarrassing loss to St. Johns, the Blue Devils have been knocked off their high horse.

During that same time period, the Tarheels turned things around with a 7-1 ACC record and a No. 20 national ranking. Barnes has gotten rid of his freshman fears and looks comfortable – more than before at least.

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CBE Classic Preview: Marquette The Underdog


The CBE Classic is the best of the 2010 pre-season college basketball tournaments and not just because my alma mater is involved.  You have two of the top three ranked teams in the country in Duke and Kansas State, the always dangerous Gonzaga, and a feisty Marquette team.  Here is a preview and my predictions for what will go down in Kansas City.  Check out David’s in-depth Maui Invitational Preview.

By: David Kay
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99 in 99: #1 Duke Blue Devils

Duke NCAA Champions

The defending champs are adding one of the more exciting college prospects we have seen in years, in Kyrie Irving. It will be difficult to beat the Blue Devils this year so if you are betting on their games you will need some help in the form of college basketball expert picks.

The defending champs are more stacked than J-Woww’s chest.  That is saying something considering they lose three starters from last year’s team.  But the Duke Blue Devils have experience, size, athletes, shooters, and one of the best coaches in the game in Mike Krzyzewski.

The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” has been ranking the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors for the last three-plus months and has reached the top spot.  Click here if you missed any of our in-depth previews.

By: David Kay
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Big 10 lands 5 Ballers on Team USA Select Roster


Today, we learned the roster of the USA Basketball Select Team that will train against the National Team during its July 19-24 camp in Las Vegas. Five of the 20 collegians chosen for the Select Team are from the Big TenWilliam Buford (Ohio State), JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), Mike Tisdale (Illinois), Jon Leuer (Wisconsin), and John Shurna (Northwestern). These players will help the U.S. National Team prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Championship. The Big Ten leads all conferences with it’s 5 selections.

By Paul M. Banks

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Duke’s Nolan Smith sees his Stock Rise

nolan smith

By Paul M. Banks

I received a tweet last night that my question to Duke’s Nolan Smith, following their Final Four win over West Virginia, got some national airtime on ESPN. Glad I could get my name and the Washington Times name out there. The exchange went like this:

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Duke’s Scheyer, Singler, Nolan Smith (Final Four Videos)


By Paul M. Banks

INDIANAPOLIS- Here are Duke’s three biggest stars, in their own words following the big semifinal win over West Virginia. Watch the Sports Bank Flipshare videos below

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